Tag Archive | Modern gaming

IM@S 2 is a proper time vampire

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A week in-game can go pretty fast depending on your schedule, dialogue can be breezed through quickly and entire stage performances can be skipped if you don’t feel like watching.

Even so, The IDOLM@STER 2 can be real time sink if you let it.

Case in point? Somehow, memories of last Saturday and Sunday are hazy but I remember idol performance statistics and surprisingly good music.
I’m not sure if the PSP IDOLM@STER games give a good example what the first arcade/360 games was like, but while the PSP games didn’t do all that much for me and I found the anime mildly annoying, IM@S 2 is an engrossing game.

It’s not perfect however. A guide or wiki is handy to have, especially since the most difficult moment in the game isn’t the music performances, which by the way plays out like a basic rhythm game, but the odd jobs & promotions.

By letting your idols successfully work at different events, act in movies/radio or produce PVs you gain “appeal levels”, as represented by a heart icon. Once a heart is filled you gain one more “memory appeal”, which is a points boost – basically – something very useful to have whether you’re participating in an Audition, Live or Festival – where you go up against other idols in a duel.

The difficulty is to make it through such work while earning “perfect communication” with your idol of choice, which gives the biggest boost to the appeal-meter.
It starts out tricky for us westerners, as you must (often while a timer counting down) find the prefecture you are currently visiting on a map of Japan. Thankfully you can pause the game pretty much whenever to get some breathing room. So, a map with all the prefectures written out is a good thing to have for sure.

It gets hairier during the actual work-part where you have to make sure your idol does a good job of whatever she’s supposed to be doing. The situations these girls get themselves in, I swear. Sometimes you have to pick one out of three options which would help the situation at hand the most. However, these are not always very straight forward and even a “correct” answer (in my head) can yield surprising and ultimately disappointing results. Even more difficult is when you’re asked to physically interact with your idol, or point out things using using the body as an example. (For “use your head”, click on their head etc).

I found it really hard to know what the game expects you to do and you just don’t know what’s going to happen sometimes.
Still, figuring these sections out is fun in itself.

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But I must be going.
Only a few weeks left until the fate of my idol unit “HiMiAmi@<” will be decided.
(With Hibiki as the leader, Miki & Mami as supports, currently level 15)

I need to reach one more memory level before that…

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Retro is the new future proof


Sean over @ Retro Otaku wrote a post that made me sit down and think about these things.

Time to sit down and get serious for a moment.
All contemporary things will one day be called “retro”. Even the Xbox 360 and PS3 cannot escape that. This feels more relevant than ever, since rumours about their successors have been begun roaring their heads. Yes, both these systems are actually starting to get old – and I haven’t had them that long at all! Figures.
But when we sit there in the future with our new Xboxes and Playstations, I will probably have a hard time calling the old systems retro the same way I can do with for example the Saturn, SNES or PC Engine.
In fact, I will go out on a limb here and say that the last “true” generation of consoles that are now considered to be retro, is the 6th generation, that is to say the Dreamcast, Playstation 2, Gamecube & the original Xbox. Why? Because they’re easily collectable.

Think about this for a moment: With any of these systems, you can pick one up used (obviously, good luck finding a new one…that is not a PS2), a couple of games and be on your way. That sounds easy and simple, right? But so many things, security measures and “features” have been introduced during this current generation of gaming consoles (the 7th generation) that such a simple thing might not actually work a few years in the future. Or even now. We’ve got accounts connected to things like Xbox LIVE & Playstation Network, which may or may not need signing in order to access the systems features, we have always-online DRM, online passes, we have digital distribution and we have downloadable content, DLC. Owning a physical copy of a game doesn’t mean you can get away from all this, as you might still need to use a service such as Steam in order to access and play it. All of which lifts “power” from our hands and it also makes any sort of preservation bloody difficult. Oh and collecting. Better buy those Live Arcade games now before they cease to exist and hope that hard drive won’t break down.

What if, 10 years down the line you want to replay a game that’s out now, that isn’t a “game of the year” or complete edition, including all DLC released for it and so on, in order to enjoy “the full experience”, without having bought all that stuff earlier? Would you be able to do that? I don’t know. We don’t know. Some services might have the content stored for longer periods of time, like Steam, since the timeline for PC gaming is much more dynamic. If if was a 360 or PS3 game? Don’t count on it, unless you can get your hands someone else’s hard drive or something.

And that’s the problem we’re facing now and surely will continue to face with the next generation of gaming consoles. It’s probably safe to believe that your contemporary gaming system of choice won’t become a brick when the new systems arrives but I’m pretty sure we can forget having access to the complete library of games released. And that sucks.

Long live the last generation of truly collectable systems!

A normal day in Velika


A group of Elins performing the /dance-move in the human capital Velika. Yup, I finally got to properly sit down with the TERA Online EU beta over the last weekend. I’m having a hard time deciding what I think about the game, but I’ve got a bit more time to decide before the beta’s over.
Actually, speaking of Elins:


There we go. /obligatory

I did try a few different classes: Lancer, Warrior & Slayer (spell casters are not for me) and while I love playing as a (gun)lancer in Monster Hunter, it wasn’t quite as fun here. Something with the warrior-class rubbed me the wrong way very early on but slayer felt pretty good. I guess my main gripe is that I feel a bit lost. Not so much where to go but how things work and such. But I’ve been told I said the same thing about WoW, so I dunno…but, another thing that bothers me is that the combat still isn’t really how I want it to be.
The main reason why TERA seemed interesting was the action-oriented combat system. I really wish for an online game in which the combat feels like a normal action game you would find, for example, on a console. I know the technical side of online gaming still make that wish seem pretty far fetched but TERA is really a step in the right direction, but maybe not the leap I was hoping for.

By which I mean that the combat is better than any other MMO I’ve tried (not that many) but not really matching the expectations I got in my head. :p

Lastly, one interesting thing when comparing TERA to WoW, is that regardless of what race you choose to play, you always start out on the Island of Dawn, which serves as TERA’s starting area. And since there are story-missions (some which feature cutscenes) it feels like a more linear experience (thought that isn’t reeaaally the case, as things start to branch out quite early on) compared to WoW where each race have a different starting area. Though it cuts down a bit on variation, I quite like how this works. As far as capitals go, I’ve only been to Velika yet and don’t know much about the othes :s

Anyways, I’m probably going to do another loot-post in the next couple of days (books, this time) but right now, I just wished I had taken more screenshots 😐

Poporis are badass.

A recent computer building adventure

A seemingly innocent decision on my part, to buy a new graphics card, resulted in much more work than I could’ve imagined.

Last summer, at least I’m pretty sure it was last summer, I decided that instead of buying a new pre-built computer to replace my ageing ticking bomb of a Compaq-system, I was going to try and build one myself. With (almost) enough money saved and all parts I deemed necessary, the work began. With the help of a friend my new system was up and running after an evening. It has worked well since then, but recently I decided that I maybe wanted to get back into PC-gaming. If the most serious offender behind this train of thought was TERA Online, which recently entered a closed beta I paid to enter, I will not say. Anyway, since the graphics card in my old build, a rather cute GeForce 210 with passive cooling, was something I just bought because I felt I needed some sort of graphics card, so that I could use multiple screens, watch youtube in HD and play the occasional older game – it performed poorly. Although I was impressed that I could actually play the Crysis demo on the lowest settings, since my old computer couldn’t even start it. :p

Anyway, so I went and hunted down a card. Then, it turned out, it was bigger than I thought it would be and the only place it would fit inside the case was near the bottom, making it overheat thanks to a lack of cold air being sucked in.
Because of that, I decided to buy a better, for the purpose more optimized case – on a budget. Cases can easily get expensive. So, I picked up the Corsair Carbide 300R and quickly transferred all the stuff to my new case, just to run into another problem. One that I probably caused myself.

The graphics card was now behaving (still not running as cold as the tests I’ve read – but I don’t know what witchcraft they use) but my CPU started to reach heat levels very close to overheating under the slightest load. So, seeing as the CPU cooler probably might’ve come a bit loose with me moving the motherboard and stuff around, I decided that, as I would have clean out and replace the cooling paste anyway, I should take this opportunity and install a new cooler as well.

And that I did, and I ran into some trouble but things thankfully got solved. Turns out this particular cooler wasn’t made to be installed with the motherboard still in the case :p Anyway, it’s up and running, it works and while there are some loose ends I think I’ve learned a lot of things during all of this.

Phew.

Signs that I should get a life…

I did it. I finally got all achievements in Just Cause 2. Having gotten all in the first Just Cause (which was a guilty pleasure of mine) I swore to do the same in the sequel. A task that initially seemed neigh impossible have been completed. The number of games in which I’ve cleared all achievements have now reached the staggering number of…two. That is, JC 1 & JC 2.

…I hate multiplayer achievements.